Skype App for Windows Phone Released
Two months after being released as a beta, the Skype for Windows Phone app is now available as a final version.
Version 1.0 can be downloaded free from Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace here. Alternatively, users can access the app directly through their Windows Phone. The app requires Windows Phone 7.5 or higher to run, and supports 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks, according to a Microsoft blog post on Sunday.
Skype has added several improvements to the app since its beta release at Mobile World Congress in February. Besides the basic features, which include free Skype-to-Skype audio and video calls and group or individual instant messaging, version 1.0 lets users make video calls in "portrait mode," block and unblock contacts, add new contacts and join voice conference calls, among other new capabilities. Also, while the beta version was available only English, version 1.0 of the app supports 17 additional languages; a full list is available on Skype's Big Blog here.
According to the blog, version 1.0 has been "tested and certified" on seven Windows Phone devices: Nokia's Lumia 710, 800 and 900; HTC's Titan and Radar; and Samsung's Focus S and Focus Flash.
Tellingly, the list does not include lower-end Windows Phone devices like the ZTE Orbit. The Orbit runs "Tango," an update to Windows Phone designed for cheaper smartphones. As part of Microsoft's effort to reduce Windows Phone's hardware requirements to cater to developing markets, Windows Phone devices running Tango can run on just 256 MB of memory, instead of the 512 MB required for higher-end smartphones. However, version 1.0 of Skype for Windows Phone "requires a minimum of 512MB of memory to install and use," according to Skype's list of known issues.
The app has other shortcomings. As with the beta, the final version of the app cannot receive calls or messages when it is running in the background; the app must be "active" to accept incoming communications. Additionally, the app does not yet support Bluetooth headsets, nor does it work when the device is connected to a computer via USB. Skype also warned that low-battery or incoming-call alerts can terminate a Skype call.
However, Skype hints that at least some of these issues will be addressed in future iterations of the app. "This is the first of many releases to come for Windows Phone, so stay tuned for even more capabilities in the future," the company said in its blog.